The Lion of Judah

  • Review Date: June 3, 2011
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2011

Common Sense Media says

Amateurish animation mars Christian animal tale about Jesus.
  • Review Date: June 3, 2011
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2011

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The movie depicts several New Testament stories (Jesus and the Money Changers, the crucifixion, the allegory of Jesus as sacrificial lamb, Peter's denial of Jesus, the resurrection) that would be educational for any family looking to teach their children biblical tales.

Positive messages

Many positive, Christian-themed messages about Jesus' life, death, and love. The animals learn the value of sacrifice and friendship as they try to save Judah.

Positive role models

All of the animals are willing to risk their safety to find and save Drake and Judah. Jesus' actions and sacrifices aren't too closely examined, but he is, of course, a divine role model to Christians.

Violence & scariness

Two menacing ravens terrorize a few animals and try to catch a rat. The Gospel story of Jesus cleansing the temple (expelling the money changers) is depicted, as is Jesus being hit (briefly) and the crucifixion (but nothing bloody is shown). The death of Jesus and possible slaughter of Judah may upset young children, especially since the protagonist animals are so upset.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that since this animated drama follows animals that encounter Jesus right before the crucifixion, it will primarily appeal to Christian families who are looking to teach their children more about New Testament themes. Since Jesus (who is referred to as "the King" by the animals) is shown being jostled, hit, and eventually flogged and crucified, some very young children may be disturbed (although most of these scenes are brief and don't show any details). Judah the lamb is also nearly slaughtered (as the sacrificial lamb) but is saved at the last moment. While the film will be educational for Christian children, families of other faiths may be less comfortable with the movie's subject matter and overtly evangelical message.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Judah (voiced by Georgina Cordova) is destined to become a sacrificial lamb, but his new friends from a Bethlehem stable -- a horse, cow (Sandi Patty), rat (Ernest Borgnine), rooster, donkey (Scott Reeves), and pig -- follow him to Jerusalem, where they also encounter Jesus in the days leading up to the crucifixion. Along the way, the animals realize that Judah's sacrifice is meant to set people free and that they must find Jesus to help them.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

It feels a bit off to criticize a well-intentioned movie about animals witnessing Jesus' final days, but THE LION OF JUDAH just isn't up to par with other animated films -- even Christian ones like Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie. The animation is reminiscent of video-game quality, with foreground characters moving around in front of static, undetailed backgrounds. Scenes of the animals in motion are particularly uninspired; at least most humans aren't shown in detail (usually viewers only see people's sandaled feet, arms, or faces in shadow).

Animation style aside, the story feels like an odd mix of Barnyard and The Passion of the Christ. Still, if an animated depiction of the crucifixion and resurrection from the perspective of stable animals is OK with your family, there's some good news. The best part of the movie is the soundtrack, which includes music by contemporary Christian artists Pearl, Lindell Cooley, Kari Jobe, and Klaus. Judah's faith in the fact that Jesus' love saved him from slaughter is sweetly handled, as is the donkey Jack's decision to return to Jerusalem to help the disciples left behind. Ultimately, though, this movie probably won't be a good fit for families who don't share the filmmakers' Christian faith.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this story fits in with their own faith tradition. How does it compare to other movies with similar themes?

  • What is the movie's message about the power of faith and how it can change people (or in this case, animals)?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 3, 2011
DVD release date:March 27, 2012
Cast:Ernest Borgnine, Georgina Cordova
Director:Deryck Broom
Studio:Rocky Mountain Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Horses and farm animals
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild thematic elements

This review of The Lion of Judah was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written byPeterPi March 27, 2012
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

A good film that parents can safely take their children to

With a title like "The Lion of Judah" the theme is going to be Biblical. Everyone knows this. Taking into consideration that 75% of the American population are Christians and that Christianity is the largest faith in Europe as well, I am sure that most people would be interested in this film only for this: it is an oasis among a barren world of films on sheer nonsense, hatred, sex, occult and various forms of propaganda. While it is amateurish, this is mostly because no big company would support an openly Christian-themed animation project in this so-called 'post-Christian world' of the media and various anti-Christian reviewers. For example, rotten tomatoes 'reviewers' gave this 0% in the tomatometer when the audience liked it well enough (66%). Some reviewers are so desperate that they point to a 'violent' scene on the crucifixion: what hypocrisy! When the average cartoon on television shows vampires, demons, witches and so forth with far more violence than what appears in this film there is no mention whatsoever about this. Families should see this if only because the animation animals refer to Jesus Christ as 'The King'. There are good Christian messages throughout the film and in a land barren of anything good, this is one must see animation.

What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 3, 6, and 8 year old Written byLiveYourLife March 27, 2012
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Good for older kids,not for your youngest tots.

A bit of scary stuff when Jesus is crusified,but i let my 3,6,and 8 year olds watch it the two older ones didn't mind, but my youngest was scared silly.I wouldn't let any kids under 5 watch it as they might be frightened

What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old Written byEMFilms10 August 26, 2012
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Horrible movie!

I thought this was the worst movie I've ever seen!!!!!

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families